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Doing Disney

I recently attended The Disney Institute’s Quality Service program.  I wanted not only to scope out the competition (since I do customer service training), but also to see Pandora – The World of Avatar.  Disney had some great takeaways I want to share with you:

1. They have learned to be intentional where others are unintentional. For example, when areas of the park are under repair, they don’t just put up a construction barrier, they put up something that makes the construction blend into the park – a screen printed with trees or images of the characters. So, the takeaway is what area of your operations could you be more intentional about?  Waiting rooms?  Bathrooms? Invoices?  The possibilities are endless!

2. They have clearly defined quality standards and have done the work of putting them in priority order. I was so excited to see this because I’ve been preaching it for years! You cannot tell your front-line people to have short wait times and give super courteous, personalized service.  You have to decide which is more important AND you have to define each one.  Courtesy might mean three different things to three different people.  Most organizations don’t do the heavy lifting this requires.  Disney does.  Their standards are 1) safety, 2) courtesy, 3) show and 4) efficiency, and they are the same no matter what department you are in.  Yep, you read that right.  Show comes before efficiency even if you are in the finance department.  It is Disney’s culture.

Most groups I work with just throw out a bunch of standards and refuse to decide on the order.  They tell their people to do it all.  When they catch a front-line employee rushing a customer off the phone, they are shocked!  You can’t always be efficient and courteous – leadership has to decide which is more important and define the related behaviors.  But first you must decide what your standards are – they might include reliability or responsiveness – you don’t have to go with Disney’s choices.  But you do need to choose.

3. They rock the details. To me, this is the magic of Disney. And I’ll be honest, I saw it more in the park itself than with some of their cast members (as they call all employees).  Pandora was truly amazing – the landscaping, the rides – even the trash cans are designed well! While some cast members are outstanding, the real magic of Disney is done by the Imagineers who create everything.  They make you feel like you really are in Africa or the Himalayas or on another planet.  The artistry and attention to detail is mind boggling.  Disney definitely has the magic, and I think we could all use more of that.

And mouse ears, we could use more mouse ears.

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2 years ago

I love the reminder about defining your standards and that they have to be the same across the board! This is so true and can help avoid potential issues!

Lori Kawulok
3 years ago

Love this! It’s on my bucket list to attend a Disney Institute at Disneyworld. Reading this was a lot more affordable in the short term. Ha. For real, always enjoy your lists. Full of insight, easy to grab onto truths and fun to read! As a fellow speaker and trainer… you’re my hero. 🙂 keep being you!